Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Dwarf Chenille, Firetail
Acalypha reptans

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acalypha (ak-uh-LY-fuh) (Info)
Species: reptans (REP-tanz) (Info)

Synonym:Acalypha pendula
Synonym:Acalypha chamaedrifolia
Synonym:Acalypha repens

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

33 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Scarlet (Dark Red)

Bloom Time:
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 31 photos.
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13 positives
6 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral gardenpackrat On Jul 23, 2012, gardenpackrat from Tampa, FL wrote:

I tried and tried to root this plant and have finally had success. I have it in beds by my front door and it blooms all the time, I really like it BUT it has started to seed in another area and I am having to weed, quite a bit more than I like. It is in ground and wintered in Tampa fine. Not hard to pull up but better in a contained area where spreading is not a problem. It looks great with the red flowers.

Positive champcooper On Apr 29, 2012, champcooper from Houston, TX wrote:

Bought this plant 3 yrs ago and it never stops blooming - likes it on the dry side and I try to fertilize almost everytime I water (2-3 times a week). The frequent fertilizing makes for huge fuzzy blooms. I cover it when we have a freeze (rare in Houston, Tx). My plants are in almost full shade ( a little morning sun) under a huge live oak and a slated patio cover. They just keep growing and blooming - a wonderful plant!

Neutral Melissabarrow1 On May 4, 2010, Melissabarrow1 from Philadelphia, PA wrote:

I just purchased the prettiest pink firetail chenille plant.

Is this safe to have around cats?

Positive beadabunch On Apr 5, 2010, beadabunch from Senatobia, MS wrote:

I absolutely love this plant! I am not one that does well with plants at all...but, so far I've manged to keep the two that I bought last year alive and well. The man I purchased them from said they were "bottle brush plants". I was searching today to see about how to divide them up properly because mine are growing beautifully and I wanted to share some with my friend. Boy was I surprised to find out what they are actually called. (I'm thinkin maybe that guy at that nursery didn't know his apples from bananas) LOL! No worries! I call em' my "wooliebooger plants" LOL! These plants love lots of water and sunshine....just not toooo much of either. Too much of a good thing can be bad for you and your plants! But I guess you can say "they thrive well here in northern Mississippi!

Positive trackinsand On Feb 9, 2010, trackinsand from mid central, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

i do like this plant but be aware that if you plant it in the ground, it does spread by underground runners. it dies back during heavy frosts or freezes and you think it's gone but come summer time, it pops back up better than ever. i prefer to keep mine in a big, bottomless pot sunk into the garden. it seems to contain it better.

Positive pbunch On Oct 31, 2009, pbunch from Piedras Blancas
Colombia wrote:

From Medellin, Colombia

This plant does very well here in Medellin, Colombia. It is popular and appears to have been grown in the area for some time. A friend gave me some divisions and they are moving along very well.

Positive hmingbrd On Jun 26, 2009, hmingbrd from Sebastian, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

When I first bought this plant I hung it from a tree that hadn't leafed out yet because the tag said it needed full sun, and it was not at all happy in that much sun. The tree got it's leaves soon though and he was much happier with the dappled light, re-leafing and then blooming steadily ever since.

Positive Annie68776 On Mar 6, 2008, Annie68776 from South Sioux City, NE wrote:

I really like this plant, and don't see it around too often. The first two winters with this plant was misserable. It would drop all leaves and almost die, when we brought it in for the winter. We tried to condition it in for a while then out for a while before the first frost. No help, I was tempted to just cut it all the way back and hope for the best. This year we experimented with misting it since it seamed to like the himidity. It does not like to be dry, three times a day with the mister seams to be about right. It has started to bloom again this month. Small birds usually try to pick at the blooms early in the year, but leave it alone after the first few attemts. Must taste bad. ;-)

Positive buttonsamy On Jan 6, 2007, buttonsamy from San Rafael, CA wrote:

Gorgeous plants with smaller blooms than some of the other chenille plant varieties. I do love these plants and they are great for indoors. They can be hard to get to bloom, use indoor plant fertilizers and keep well watered. They do not like colder weather. I bring mine into the bathroom with me when I shower to give it some humidity. It seems to like that. (well, as far as I can tell)

Neutral buttonsamy On Jan 6, 2007, buttonsamy from San Rafael, CA wrote:

I love this plant! Commonly called a Strawberry Firetail or "Chenille Plant". I just recently purchased 3 small 4" plants and one large 6" plant. I have tried growing this plant many times before, and never had much success at getting it to "bloom". However, I lived in a small place that was rather cold and had little sunlight. Now, The plants are on a lovely plant stand and get good morning light. I am hopeful that the plants will flourish and bloom now that they are warm and get a decent amount of light.

If anyone has any tips for growing these lovely plants indoors and getting them to flower, please let me know. I will be fertilizing them as well to help "entice them" into growing. The larger of the plants is now in a self watering pot. I've been bringing it into the bathroom when I shower as well, to provide humidity.

Thanks, and good luck with this beautiful plant!

Negative polewoman On May 4, 2006, polewoman from Warana Beach
Australia wrote:

I live in Queensland Australia, I planted a small pot of acalypha reptans in my garden, looked gorgeous took over. I eventually had to pull some out, everytime I touched it and this is wearing gardening gloves I got these violent headaches 24/7 that would last a week, I was getting in the garden every fortnight, so every two weeks I would end up with these violent headaches, sometimes vomiting. I am now acalypha reptan free and have'nt had a headache for about 8 months. I would like to know if anyone else has experienced this problem, or similar.


Positive jnana On Aug 8, 2005, jnana from South Florida, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Low maintenance plant. Blooms constantly and spreads rapidly. No pest or disease problems. Doesn't take low temperatures too well.

Positive vossner On Aug 5, 2005, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I use mine as a groundcover also. very pretty, did not die for me in winter. low maint. spreads but easy to remove.

Positive DawnRain On Jan 4, 2005, DawnRain from Bartow, FL wrote:

It has been living with no care in my zone 9 garden for 3 years now. Frost has not bothered it, possibly it is protected by taller plants overhead. Has bloomed through wet and dry and made a lovely unusual ground cover. Children are especially fascinated by it.

Neutral Dogzilla On Jan 3, 2005, Dogzilla from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Note, the hardiness zones are no joke. I left mine outside in zone 8b during a light freeze and it's dead! Bring 'em inside!

Positive RDT On Nov 16, 2004, RDT from Crossville, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

Nice looking. I use it as a houseplant in the winter and then it remains outside once our weather has warmed.

Positive Biwako On Sep 29, 2003, Biwako from Chula Vista, CA wrote:

I have grown this plant both in Japan, near Tokyo, and now in San Diego, CA. In both places it seemed happy in shade or dappled shade and flowered profusely. Here I leave it in the ground all year round, but in Japan, I used to pot it up and bring it in for the winter, no problem. Kept it a bit back from a window with south exposure so it got bright light, and it prospered. I do recall that when given full, bright sun in that window, it was unhappy, so I draped it with a very thin scarf on sunny days.
Far from making a shrub, it lies prostrate on the ground and spreads by forming new roots at (don't know exactly how to describe this) the nodes that touch the soil. Several times I have either dug up these new rooted sections and sent them in trades or transplanted them, but sometimes they do not do well. Perhaps they don't like traveling in a box, or maybe they don't like being rudely chopped off. That apart, they seem to thrive on neglect, provided only that they get water.

Positive tekva01 On Jun 19, 2003, tekva01 wrote:

I've had my red firetail plant in a hanging basket,outside, in moderate sun. I live in Wisconsin- temp. now (summer) is averaging in the 70's day, 50's night.

I keep the soil moist (moderate). It is thriving. I have tendrils that are over a foot long, and heavy "tails".
Perhaps I'll try bringing it in the house when it turns cooler outside. It is a real conversation piece.

Neutral olive2 On May 31, 2003, olive2 from Kewaskum, WI wrote:

I just bought this plant in a hanging basket. I have it outside for the summer and will bring it into the house in the winter.

Neutral Monocromatico On Apr 29, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This species is a small version of the common Red-Hot Cat Tail. The general requirements are also quite similar. The only differences I notice is the bloom (never get so long) and the habitus (herbaceous, very short plant).


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (3 reports)
Anniston, Alabama
Cherokee Village, Arkansas
Carlsbad, California
Los Angeles, California
Mission Viejo, California
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
San Rafael, California
Santa Monica, California
Bartow, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida
Bradley, Florida
Deltona, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Homestead, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida (2 reports)
Sebastian, Florida
Stuart, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Vero Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Weston, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Barbourville, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2 reports)
Zachary, Louisiana
Britton, Michigan
Canton, Mississippi
Senatobia, Mississippi
Orient, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina
Portland, Oregon
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Woonsocket, Rhode Island
Anderson, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Beaumont, Texas
Houston, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Kalama, Washington

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